Job market growth hits seven-month low

Growth of staff appointments to permanent and temporary positions has slowed to the weakest rate in seven months, according to the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs.

Demand for workers also rose at the slowest rate in five months, with weaker rates of expansion recorded for both permanent and temporary positions in May.

Availability of staff to fill jobs did show a modest improvement, although growth in this area eased slightly since April.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, commented: “The latest data shows a worrying deceleration in the UK jobs market. Although the number of placements has continued to increase, the rate of expansion has hit a seven-month low. Private sector job creation has not hit the buffers but it is clearly slowing, which heightens concerns over whether or not public sector job losses can be absorbed.

“There have been signs of increasing employer confidence in some sectors but economic growth remains too fragile to spark the real step-change that our jobs market needs. With consumer confidence at a low ebb, many individuals who would normally be looking to change jobs are staying put.”

The strongest growth in demand for staff in the report was for IT and computing roles, followed by engineering and construction staff. However, there was a fall in demand for staff in nursing, medical and care positions.

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, added: “Employers across all sectors are becoming more cautious about hiring new staff.

“With businesses and consumers now being hit by higher taxes and fuel costs, public spending cuts and a continuing squeeze on real incomes, this is perhaps no surprise. The hope now is that growth in the UK will pick up later this year, led by a private sector recovery absorbing job losses in the public sector.”

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